Restored Edition of Pride and Prejudice, and Derbyshire Spar

Restored Edition of Pride and Prejudice, and Derbyshire Spar

The restored edition of Pride and Prejudice is available! You can get a copy of Pride and Prejudice: A Novel. In Three Volumes. (Annotated and Restored to 1813 Egerton First Edition) at [easyazon_link identifier=”B0741DCLL6″ locale=”US” tag=”austauth0d-20″]Amazon[/easyazon_link], Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and hopefully soon Feedbooks. You may notice that it’s free everywhere except Amazon, and this is because Amazon does not let you automatically list books at $0. If you have a sec, please help me with my campaign to make it free at Amazon: here’s how. Because I’m not sure how long it will be before Amazon lowers the price, I decided to pursue Feedbooks as an option for getting it onto Kindles for free in the interim.

Making this edition required me to go through, line by line, a total of three times, and I picked up so many things in such a close reading of the novel. One thing that I’d always been a little curious about was this thought by Elizabeth: “I may enter his county with impunity, and rob it of a few petrified spars without his perceiving me.” Since I was also doing historical notes to go with the edition, I elaborated a bit on it within them, but it’s really something that needs photos for greater context. So here’s that greater context:

My modern American brain always registered “petrified spars” as something like petrified wood. Indeed, when I was in Derbyshire last year, I was always on the lookout for something that looked like petrified wood, and disappointed that it seemed I was not going to be able to rob Derbyshire of a few petrified spars myself. It seemed disappointing to me that no one realized Pride and Prejudice fans would be on the lookout for such things.

Turns out, however, that I actually did pick up some Derbyshire spar while I was there. It was only in subsequent reading about the county, after I got home, that I learned what was called Derbyshire spar then, is the Blue John stone that was sold everywhere in jewelry while I was there. Blue John stone is unique stuff: a rare form of fluorite only found in two caverns in Castleton, Derbyshire (a similar mineral has also been found in China, but it’s still under debate as to whether it is the same stone).

town in valley
Castleton, Derbyshire

I went to Castleton, and though I didn’t go into either of the caverns where Blue John is mined (Blue John Cavern and Treak Cliff Cavern), I did go to Speedwell’s Cavern and Peak Cavern. I’m planning to have a character with an interest in natural philosophy in the future, so it was great to go through Peak Cavern, which was open for visitors even in Regency times, although not quite so shored up from a health and safety standpoint – people had to lay in a coffin-esque box and be pushed down a stream to get into the cavern! (A better entrance was later created for Queen Victoria’s visit there.)

Peak Cavern

And while in Castleton, I picked up the necklace and stone on either side of the mineral card (that was a later find on eBay).

minerals, blueish purple stone
Blue John stone

In Castleton, there are a large number of shops selling jewelry made from the stone, and it’s in that town where I picked up both the necklace and the polished stone. The jewelry can also be found in Bakewell. It was not, however, as common in Matlock as it must have been when Stephen Glover wrote about it in The Peak Guide: Containing the Topographical, Statistical, and General History of Buxton, Chatsworth, Edensor…., in 1830:

The amusements at Matlock are balls, and billiards, sailing on the river Derwent, exploring the various caverns, visiting the museums, the elegant spar shops, the botanical and Mr. Arkwright’s gardens, the latter being open to the public two days in each week, viz. Mondays and Thursdays, collecting rare fossils and botanical plants with which the neighbourhood abounds, taking pleasant rides among the surrounding rich scenery, sketching, fishing, &c. &c.

The offerings were more elaborate in the past, as well. You can still find bowls, goblets, etc. today, but nothing like these Regency era urns:

banded fluorite urns
Blue John urns

Castleton is a lovely little historic town, and I’d definitely recommend it if travels take you to Derbyshire. In addition to the many caverns, it also has Peveril Castle (hence the town’s name), operated by English Heritage. Warning: to reach it you have to walk up a huge hill!

castle on hill
Peveril Castle

If travels will not take you to Derbyshire, you can still rob it of a few petrified spars via Ebay or Etsy. Just search for “Blue John jewelry.”

And if you’re interested in learning more about the restored edition of Pride and Prejudice, please follow the blog tour:

July 27, My Vices and Weaknesses: Guest Post & Giveaway

July 28, Austenesque Reviews: Book Excerpt & Giveaway

July 29, My Love for Jane Austen: Guest Post & Giveaway

August 3, Just Jane 1813: Book Review & Giveaway

August 4, My Jane Austen Book Club: Guest Post & Giveaway

September 4, Diary of an Eccentric: Guest Post & Giveaway

September 5, Laughing with Lizzie: Book Excerpt

September 6, Savvy Verse & Wit: Book Review & Giveaway

September 12, Margie’s Must Reads: Book Review & Giveaway

September 14, More Agreeably Engaged: Guest Post & Giveaway

September 15, Babblings of a Bookworm: Book Excerpt & Giveaway





22 Responses to Restored Edition of Pride and Prejudice, and Derbyshire Spar

  1. The many wonderful things I learn via connection with Jane and JAFF. Will certainly be on the lookout for Blue John jewelry to own a piece of Derbyshire until I can actually get there (I’m still hopeful). I decided to splurge 99c on a copy via amazon, but it shows as Not Available. Hmmm. Can’t wait to get my copy! Many thanks for a lovely posting.

  2. Lovely post, it’s so interesting to see what things can be made of the stones! Congrats on your recent project! Thank you for doing it as well, I had always wondered why so many of the P&P prints had different page lengths and realized that portion of the story were edited out. I wanted to find one that was most accurate to her writing.

  3. Thanks for a lovely post, Sophie. I was born and grew up in Leicestershire, just south of Derbyshire, and the Peak District was a place we often visited on day trips. As the earliest of those trips pre-date my first reading of P&P, it meant that I always knew what the “petrified spars” were but it’s been many years now since I’ve been back. I can remember going into a couple of the caves (sadly not the Blue John cave) with my Dad but my Mum and sister wouldn’t go in. My Mum in particular was somewhat claustrophobic. How lovely that you’d acquired some spars of your own without even realising it!

    • Thanks for your comment, Anji! I can definitely see how they would be bad for claustrophobes…I didn’t particularly like the parts where I had to really crouch down, myself. They improved the entrance for Queen Victoria, but she was pretty short!

  4. Interesting. In high school one of our required science classes was geology and we went on a field trip into the Poconos looking for fossils. I found a lovely trilobite fossil which I donated to the school. The science teacher was thrilled. We also have Crystal Cavern here in Hellertown PA where you can view some interesting formations. I had not heard of this one but then I don’t live where it might be of interest. Thanks for sharing.

    • Ooh, that sounds like fun. We never did a field trip like that but I’m sure I would have enjoyed it.

      I hadn’t heard of Blue John until I went to Derbyshire, but now I think that’s one of the cool things about it. It’s right from the heart of “Darcy Country.” 😉

  5. Congratulations and thank you for your efforts!

    Your Amazon link didn’t work, but I searched for Pride-Prejudice-Volumes-Annotated-Restored-ebook and got it – and put in a lower price message. I hope it works!

  6. This was a very interesting post about the stone. Gives me one more reason to get to Derbyshire! I may be out of the loop, but what does “restored” mean in the new edition? Thanks.

  7. Congratulations on finishing this amazing endeavor. Very informative post as I’ve never understood what petrified spars was referring to and never would have guessed that it was referring to Blue John.

  8. First, congratulations on your accomplishment. You have done all JAFF lovers a great service.
    Sharon Lathan has a scene in one of her books that takes place in a cavern. I think it is in “A Darcy Christmas,” but I cannot be certain off the top of my head (and it is 6 A.M. when I type this and I am not a morning person). Mayhap she will correct me later.

  9. What a lovely post. I was lucky enough to go through the various caverns as a child. My parents often took us to Castleton and Buxton.
    I also have a lovely gold blue john necklace and earrings which I treasure. I would love to have a bowl or vase as well but they are so very expensive. Oh well, maybe one day.
    Thank you so much for sharing your travels and for the book Sophie.

    • Thank you, Glynis! I would love to go back and do more of the caverns. I also went to one in Buxton and I enjoyed them all even more than I thought I would. I liked that some of the tours talked about what it would have been like to do the tour back in the day.

      I’d love to get one of the bowls, too, but yes, they’re so expensive!

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